Today is 10 months since my facial feminization surgery, and I’m still in disbelief I had the opportunity. I suppose I could have lived my life without it, remaining camera/mirror shy and unable to shed that insecurity, but I always wanted to correct some things and I’m glad to have done it (Well, “glad” is a gigantic understatement, but you get my drift, yes?). Certain features about my face caused me great distress (my jaw specifically), some not necessarily gender-specific at all. My level of past distress became even clearer in the months after the surgery as I began to look harder with less and less fear. I had been keeping my feelings at arm’s length, unable to face myself. Being free of that self-doubt has been a nearly rapturous experience. I am changed for the better. And all it took was tearing my face apart and putting it back together slightly differently.
The Discomfort Lingers
A full year of recovery is what I was told to expect. Judging by the sensations I still have at 10 months, I believe it will take longer than a year. I have spots on my face (mostly around my brow bone) that can be tender to the touch. Even a makeup brush can cause bruise-like sensations. Certain areas of my head along the incision are also sensitive. Most of my nose and the tip of my chin still feel a little swollen/numb. These areas have the least blood flow and therefore were expected to be the last to heal.
The most disconcerting ongoing bother is my scalp. As the nerves reconnect and relearn, there’s still a lot of numbness. And itching. OH MY GLOB THE ITCHING! I’ve worried I might scratch all my (thinning) hair out of the top of my head. The scratching doesn’t work since there’s nothing specific creating the itch, just my stupid nerves memorizing their new function on my tighter scalp. A friend who had hair transplantation confirmed he experienced lots of the same sensations, assuring me it will eventually stop. I’m looking forward to that mystery date in my future.
Self-Acceptance vs. Fix Me!
I was very photo-phobic prior to surgery. But at some point, a couple months after surgery, I snapped a selfie and thought “Oh. I sorta see it. There she is!” These days, I no longer shrink from a camera. This is a big deal for me. I feel relaxed in a way I never understood.
A case can be made for avoiding surgeries and learning to accept oneself as is. I see that, but I wanted something different for myself. I’m happy to have the opportunity. I’m happy with the results. I’m happier now than I was before surgery. I assume that’s the point. Mission accomplished.
What is “Before & After” Anyway?
I haven’t included any attempt at before/after pics. I’ve looked different at different points in my life, so where does that sort of thing start and stop? It’s arbitrary. I debated whether to include any photos at all, and decided to use just these two. What we’re talking about is a largely visual issue. But I want to be careful to not lean too heavily on that part, for the sake of people who don’t have the same opportunities and to avoid playing into societal norms/expectations in a regressive way. It’s a tricky balance.
What isn’t tricky is knowing I’ve made the right transition decisions for me. That’s a no-brainer.